Here are some typical dream interview questions and answers…

What are a few things concerning dreams the public doesn’t generally know about?

  • In an average life span, we spend a total of about six years of it dreaming, more than 2000 days spent a world entirely created by our own unconscious self.
  • We dream for between 15 and 20 minutes during each 90 minute sleep cycle, so we dream for between 75 and 100 minutes per night.
  • Five minutes after waking we tend to have forgotten 50% of the content of our dreams. After ten minutes, we have probably forgotten 90%.
  • The best way to remember your dreams on waking is not to move your body. As soon as you move, you will physically start to wake and your dreams will fade quickly.
  • Blind people dream.  Their dream content depends on when they became blind and they tend to dream more in sound, smell, taste, and touch than in vision. These non visual dreams can appear as powerful and vivid as visual dreams.
  • The earliest known dream diaries date from 3000 BC and were found inscribed on clay tablets in the library of King Ashurbanipal of Nineveh.
  • The earliest known records of dreams are the cave paintings at Chauvet Pont d’Arc in the Ardeche region of France. They date from over 30,000 years ago. Dream paintings are also to be found at Lascaux and Altamira. These date from around 16,000 years ago.

What subjects and scenarios are common in dreams? Why?
The most common subjects and scenarios are:

  • Being chased: Feeling under pressure (often from the self) to complete something in waking life.
  • Falling: Feeling out of control and fearing the possibility of failure in waking life.
  • Naked in public: Felling vulnerable and exposed in a new situation in waking life.
  • Teeth falling out: Losing confidence and the ability to engage with the world in waking life.
  • Unprepared for the exam: Being judgmental and self critical in waking life.
  • Flying: Feeling liberated and free from worries in waking life.
  • Losing valuables: Feeling undervalued and having poor self worth in waking life.
  • Searching: Trying to gain fulfillment and satisfaction in waking life.
  • Missing a plane or train: Feeling unprepared for a workplace opportunity in waking life.
  • Toilet privacy: Wanting to resolve emotional issues and experiences in private in waking life.

Are there significant differences recorded between a baby’s dreams, a youth’s dreams and an adult’s dreams? What/how so?
Yes, there are significant differences. We begin to dream while still in the womb and begin to become consciously aware of our dreams around two years old.
Young children’s dreams often involve being pursued and bitten by wild animals and monsters. This reflects their need to resolve the developmental tension between their instinctual behaviour and the need to be socially responsible as part of a family group.
Dreams in adolescence are usually confused and urgent and usually focus on the search for identity and peer acceptance in waking life. Dream content involves befriending celebrities, parents dying and trying to conceal a murder victim.
Elderly people often have dreams about being lost, losing purses or wallets and being on journeys with friends and acquaintances that have passed away in waking life. These dreams reflect a sense of trying to clarify and fulfill a life’s purpose, feeling unvalued in retirement and accepting the inevitable transformation of the physical form.

Why do some people remember their dreams clearly and others do not recall dreaming at all? What causes this?
We all dream and the ability to recall our dreams is often due to habit rather than any unconscious memory skill. If dreamers cannot recall their dreams, the easiest way to begin is to say to themselves ‘Tonight I will remember something from my dreams’ when they lay their head on the pillow to go to sleep. The more we try to habitually remember our dreams, the easier they are to recall. Some people genuinely cannot remember their dreams and this is usually due to a brain injury or a congenital brain defect.

What do recurring dreams symbolise?
Recurring dreams suggest that the dreamer has a recurring anxiety in waking life that they have yet to resolve. Once this anxiety is identified and resolved, the dreamer will no longer have the recurring dream. One of my clients was an 82 year old man who had been having the same disturbing and recurring dream for 68 years. After we had explored and identified the cause of the dream he never has it again.

I have heard that if a person is snoring then they cannot be dreaming. Is there truth behind this claim?
There is no truth behind this claim. Many snorers unconsciously wake themselves up from dreaming episodes by a particularly loud snore. Sometimes the snorer or their sleeping partner will incorporate the sound of the snoring in their dream, hearing it as an engine or thunder or a landslide, depending on the severity of the snoring.

Many people believe if you die in your dream, you will die in reality. Is there any truth behind this claim?
No. In fact if you die in your dream and then die in reality, there is no way of ever proving that you were actually dreaming of dying. When we dream of death, we are dreaming of profound transformation.

Are there different stages to dreams? If so, explain.
Yes. Dreams tend to unfold in what has become seen as a classic narrative structure in the stories that we share with each other, from personal anecdotes to the latest Hollywood blockbuster. The first part of the dream is a back story or set up where we find ourselves in a location with a variety of characters and props. At some point quite early on in the dream, there is a call to action where we are challenged by something beyond our immediate awareness, such as the appearance of a wild animal or the knowledge that we are about to miss our plane. We then engage with this situation and at some point there is a deepening of the drama where we have to make a crucial decision or perform some vital action. If we are successful in this we can usually take the gift of our learning back into waking reality. The most successful stories in our culture tend to follow this pattern because it is the most unconsciously satisfying for us.

At what time during sleep do dreams occur? REM?
Dreams occur towards the end of our ninety minute sleep cycles and are identified by the rapid movement of our eyes, showing that our brain is fully active. We also dream to a lesser extent in non REM sleep. However, these NREM dreams tend to be vaguer and more confusing with none of the clarity and narrative associated with REM dreaming.

Can you elaborate on REM?
Rapid Eye Movement was first discovered by Nathaniel Kleitman and Eugene Aserinsky in the 1950’s. As well eye movement, there is often twitching of the facial muscles and hands.

What physical changes does a person’s body undergo during sleep?
The main changes are profound physical relaxation and paralysis of the anti-gravity muscles during dreaming episodes.

Could you explain lucid dreaming to me?
Lucid dreaming is when we become consciously aware that we are dreaming while still in the dream. With practice the dreamer is able to control their dreams.